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View Diary: Open thread for night owls: How blogger Duncan Black made expanding Social Security respectable (149 comments)

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  •  Read a book. (0+ / 0-)
    'But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.

    But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter. The objection here is the more extraordinary, as it appears that the language used by the convention is a copy from the articles of Confederation. The objects of the Union among the States, as described in article third, are "their common defense, security of their liberties, and mutual and general welfare. '' The terms of article eighth are still more identical: "All charges of war and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury,'' etc. A similar language again occurs in article ninth. Construe either of these articles by the rules which would justify the construction put on the new Constitution, and they vest in the existing Congress a power to legislate in all cases whatsoever.

    But what would have been thought of that assembly, if, attaching themselves to these general expressions, and disregarding the specifications which ascertain and limit their import, they had exercised an unlimited power of providing for the common defense and general welfare?
    I appeal to the objectors themselves, whether they would in that case have employed the same reasoning in justification of Congress as they now make use of against the convention. How difficult it is for error to escape its own condemnation!

    - PUBLIUS

    Self awareness is one of God's greatest gifts. Don't waste it.

    by SpamNunn on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:34:09 PM PDT

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    •  That is a lot of weight (0+ / 0-)

      resting on a semi-colon and a Pseudonym. Plus the core argument rises to the status of a strawman. Because it is the very illustration of a rhetorical question and one designed NOT to have an answer.

      For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.
      Because here is a purpose. What if the counterargument for the claim of any specific power was that "well that cannot be considered inherently part of the 'general welfare' based on (insert one) Natural Law". By DOUBLING down and listing SPECIFIC powers as part but not necessarily the whole of the GENERAL power one would and I argue does add clarity.

      But Publius (which from my dim memory is actually Madison) is making essentially a grammatical argument that clauses following a general one can only limit it and not clarify or expand it. Well I am not sure this comports with usage in the 18th century or now, nor am I willing to throw the welfare of millions of people under the bus because some logical grammar chopping 'makes' me do so. I don't expect you to agree but to me that is a perfect example of the kind of post facto reading back of conclusions into presumed logical premises that I refered to in passing before.

      "Taxes bad. Therefore let us find reasons why the 16th Amendment doesn't mean what its plain text says it does. Or at least doesn't apply to Sovereign Citizens"

      Well most people think that kind of logic is between silly and very dangerous, the kind of thing that applies deep meaning to gold fringes on U.S. flags in courtrooms. From where I sit the main difference here is that 'enumerated powers' fanatics just have a longer and deeper pedigree.

      "Because what Publius has put forth let no man put asunder". Wait! What? Who is Publius and why should that be dispostive? And "convincing to me" is not really an answer. Except of course to the answerer.

      SocSec dot.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

      by Bruce Webb on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 06:02:52 AM PDT

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    •  And please "Read a book" (0+ / 0-)

      First of all that is quite the dick move. I mean I don't even accept that when it is "Read the Book" and still less when it means "Read MY reading of THE Book".

      Second I have read books. And then thought about them. Rather than just blindly following the opinions of Authority. Not that one should discard informed and expert opinion, because that is the road to crankdom, at a minimum one should take it into account and think about IT.

      But the flip side of being a solo Crank is being the True Believer. Who generally always have a book that becomes THE BOOK. Whether that be Mao's Little Red Book or ElRON(sic) Hubbard's Dianetics. I don't have a lot of patience with people who treat the Federalist Papers as having the same authority as the Talmud in relation to their Ur texts. Or the Christian Fathers in interpreting the Bible. Because that all stretches the concept of Revelation to the snapping point.

      'But, but PUBLIUS! In a BOOK!!!'

      Whatever.

      SocSec dot.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

      by Bruce Webb on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 06:15:34 AM PDT

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      •  I answered your question. (0+ / 0-)

        You didn't like the answer.  

        I am pretty sure I understand what the Founders meant the "general welfare" language to mean.   It's not what you think it means, IMHO.  

        Try the decaf.  Then read a book again.  

        Self awareness is one of God's greatest gifts. Don't waste it.

        by SpamNunn on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 02:27:15 PM PDT

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        •  You didn't answer the question (0+ / 0-)

          You gave someone else's answer to the question.

          And I don't care much that you are "pretty sure" because you show no particular evidence of having a single original contribution to make here beyond aping talking points you lapped up from 'books'.

          Plus I don't drink coffee.

          So three strikes on you.

          SocSec dot.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

          by Bruce Webb on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 05:03:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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